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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Poor Knights of Windsor

Stale bread happens to all of us. A beautiful baked loaf, crusty on the outside, fluffy in the middle, dries out to an impenetrable heavy and crumbly mess within days. Give it a little more time, and, with the right swing, it soon becomes a potentially lethal weapon.

The latest Is My Blog Burning event (a free-for-all online cook-off for foodbloggers) is Yesterday's Bread hosted by Derrick from An Obsession with Food. Because in spite of its unfriendly appearance, stale bread is often the classic star in any culinary rags-to-riches story.

In this vein, Poor Knights of Windsor always sounded romantic and gallant to a hungry sugar-obsessed nine-year-old. More importantly, the photo of them in my mother's Woman's Day cookbook looked unbelievably delicious. It was always at this page that I paused at on rainy Sunday afternoons, the hazy image of fried French stick slices, dusted heavily with shimmering sugar crystals, stopping me immediately in my tracks .

Of course now I know that Poor Knights of Windsor are in fact just a sherry-added twist on classic French toast. They are still irresistible. The older the bread, the more it soaks up the sweet egg mixture, and a flash in the frypan cooks the egg to a wonderful golden brown. Stale bread takes on a custardy, almost cake-like texture, and the crunch of sugar on the surface, as loud as footsteps on gravel, leave a happy childlike trail of satisfaction around the lips.

Poor Knights of Windsor

Poor Knights of Windsor

Stale bread (preferably a French stick)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sherry
1Tbsp oil for frying
sugar to dust
cinnamon to dust (optional)

Slice French stick into 2.5cm widths (1-inch). If using sliced bread, trim crusts.

Whisk eggs and add milk and sherry (the sherry can be omitted if preferred). Dip bread into egg mixture and coat both sides. The staler the bread the more egg mixture it will soak up. If the bread is relatively fresh, dip quickly.

Heat oil in a frypan (you may use clarified butter if you can be bothered) and add battered bread slices, frying on both sides until golden brown. Remove to plate and dust heavily with sugar (and cinnamon, if preferred).

Eat hot and eat lots.

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posted by Anonymous on 4/30/2006 11:59:00 pm


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